Henk

There are those who will tell stories of their youth so long ago
They will talk of past adventures like a wild picture show
They’ll talk of comrades lost, and lovers found along the way
They’ll tell of how they almost didn’t live to see today
And then there are the many who never made it through
Who leave their friends and family to wonder if they knew

Who leave their friends and family to wonder if they knew
And to always ask the questions about what they didn’t do
To always ask the question, why did they survive
While others died to see the day that they would be alive
For some the liberation was a great, heroic feat
For others it’s all much more bittersweet

We didn’t want another hero
A noble struggle to employ
We just want our lieve jongen
We just want our boy

Henk Streefkerk was born in Naarden, and as the story goes
He went to work for Phillips to work on radios
He lived through the Depression, next came the German tanks
Friends joined with the Resistance, Henk also joined their ranks
He lived an unassuming life beneath Holland’s cloudy sky
Working quietly at night, not to draw a German eye

Chorus

Henk Streefkerk was killed, that’s how history is made
Until this day no one knows how he was betrayed
He was standing on the sidewalk, he was executed there
Left lying on the pavement, blood spattered his blond hair
Four days later the war was over, they say the Allies won
Many people celebrated while the Streefkerks buried their only son

Chorus

It was more than sixty years after the occupation’s awful toll
Someone noticed Henk wasn’t on the Honor Roll
And on a wall somewhere perhaps now his name will be engraved
They’ll thank him for his courage and the families he saved
He’ll join the thousands of Nederlanders, and millions more
All the lieve jongens killed in the world wars

Chorus

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“Henk” appears on the 2013 Bandcamp album, Into A Prism.

Henk Streefkerk was a Dutch resistance member who saved many lives in Eindhoven, during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. He was killed just days before the German withdrawal as he stood on a sidewalk.

I was very happy to be commissioned to write this song by a relative of Henk Streefkerk’s in Hamburg. It took a year or so before I felt like I had familiarized myself sufficiently with the Dutch resistance, and more broadly with the feelings of the Dutch about the war generally. My research involved a lot of reading on the internet, a book about the Market Garden campaign, visiting a museum in Amsterdam about the resistance, and especially materials provided to me by Robin Kiera in Hamburg.

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